The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 45, November 8, 2009, Article 6


John & Nancy Wilson, NLG submitted this review of the new Professional Edition of the classic Redbook. -Editor

Yeoman Red Book Professional Edition. jpg This First Edition of, "A Guide Book of United States Coins, Professional Edition" by Senior Editor, Kenneth Bressett, Valuation Editor, Jeff Garrett and Research Editor, Q. David Bowers is the 15th reference published by Whitman Publishing, LLC using "The Official Red Book" name.

The Guide Book of United States Coins (The Red Book) published annually is the best selling numismatic book in the world. This "Professional Edition" of the Red Book is spiral bound, soft cover, 8.5 x 11, in full color and has 384 pages. The reference covers all U. S. federal coin series from the cent piece to the gold double eagles. U. S. commemoratives (1892-1954) along with mint and proof sets are also covered.

The authors of this Professional Edition mention that this isn't a replacement for the annual Guide Book of U. S. Coins (Red book). We do feel that the areas not covered such as grading, values for lower graded coins, history of coins, coins from treasures and hoards, colonial & early American coins and tokens, bullion coins, private & territorial gold, hard times & civil war tokens, Confederate, Hawaiian, Puerto Rican & Philippine coins and Alaskan tokens, are areas that most professionals do not use the Red Book for anyway. Also most dealers always have an old standard red book lying around if they need that kind of information.

The professional edition covers, denomination introductions, type-by-type studies, mintages, certified populations, valuations, auction records (from the past five to ten years), investing in rare coins - using common sense, learn about grading and what you are buying, understanding the general market and learning from the experts. We especially liked the overviews of all the denominations that were issued. We cannot help but think that this information will help even the most advanced dealer, collector or investor to be a better seller or buyer of coins.

As an example of this on page 17 of an overview of half cents, "One curious and readily available variety off the 1828 half cent has 12 stars instead of the standard 13. However, in choice MS the 12-stars issue becomes a rarity, for, unlike the 13-stars issue, none were ever found in hoards." We found that some of these overviews contained very valuable information not found elsewhere. We also liked the recommended readings after the overviews. If you need additional information, these lists will lead you to the information you need. The photos of the over dates and other varieties are more extensive than in the standard red book and the pictures are larger and show more clearly what the variety looks like.

We attend many coin shows in all parts of the country and see very few Red Books (A Guide Book of United States Coins) behind dealer's tables. In the future we think that you will see many of this "Professional Edition," being carried and used during shows. We feel dealers and advanced collectors need it to give them additional knowledge to make more knowledgeable decisions. This is another "slam dunk" reference that will probably become the second leading seller in the Whitman Publishing chain of fine numismatic references. We highly recommend it to collectors, dealers or anyone who buys or deals in U. S. coins. For information on purchasing this Professional Edition, which sells for $29.95 you can contact: Whitman Publishing, LLC, 3103 Clairmont Road, Suite B, Atlanta, GA 30329 or phone (800) 546 - 2995 or visit their site at:

I received my copy of the Professional Edition last week, but held off on my review knowing that the Wilsons planned to send their comments this week. I think it's an interesting culmination of the various format experiments Whitman has made to their classic product. The Professional Edition is spiral bound (great for a frequently-used reference), is the jumbo size of the large-print edition (also very useful), and has all of the great color photography, clear tabular mintage and pricing information of all the editons. In many ways it combines the best of all the other formats.

The lack of prices to lower grades is a drawback, I think, but the inclusion of auction records is very valuable. One aspect of the large print edition I would have enjoyed seeing is enlarged color photos. But it's difficult if not impossible, to squeeze every possible feature into one book, so readers will have to make do with more than one book. I'll give the Professional Edition a thumbs up, although I do empathize with those who grouse about needing multiple books to properly cover the territory.

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: NEW BOOK: RED BOOK OF U.S. COINS - PROFESSIONAL EDITION (


DAVID F. FANNING NUMISMATIC LITERATURE will be holding its next mail-bid auction on December 3. Featured Lot: A Remarkable Archive of Manuscript Notes and Plates on Medieval France. . For more information, see . To request a catalogue, e-mail .

Wayne Homren, Editor

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